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for four years. the other has been running for longer than that. barack obama and mitt romney are both nearing the end of intense debate prep, and coaching sessions. and at this point, they're designed either to create or prevent that moment that we've all seen that can somehow change the race. and with millions of americans watching these debates like a kind of super bowl of american politics, the stakes are high as the two men face each other in denver, just two days from now. we begin tonight with nbc's andrea mitchell in our d.c. newsroom. andrea, good evening. >> good evening, brian. it is the political super bowl, or perhaps the world series. mitt romney, behind in all battleground polls for the last three weeks, now has the most to gain from a game-changing night. and the most to lose if he doesn't turn it around. as the candidates head to debate camp, rolling up their sleeves, getting down to work, each claims to be the underdog. >> governor romney, he's -- he's a good debater. i'm just okay. >> he plays, barack obama, he plays them well, too. i hate to tell you. >> report
joined by their wives tomorrow. ann romney says during past debates, her husband routinely looked over at her for reassurance. tomorrow, is the obama's 20th wedding anniversary. mrs. obama recently joked she would like her husband to write love you, on his hand so she and millions of americans can see it when he waves. >> peter, thanks. >>> our political director chuck todd is also part of our team in denver, tonight debeauing our predebate numbers. how interesting that 34 states are voting, but this race is on the move, either a gaffe or a big moment at one of these debates could change the numbers further. >> reporter: look, it's absolutely true. and let's look at our new poll. there are two numbers that matter more when judging whether a president wins re-election or not. for the president right now, his job approval rating is at 49%. disapproval at 48. our pollsters tell us that 49 is in the re-elect zone. look at this, the direction of the country, 40% say we're on the right track. it's not a great number, but it's the highest number we've recorded in three and a half years.
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